Not long after I graduated high school I got a job working at a veterans hospital, and while I was there I had the opportunity to take a two-year program in gerontology, the study of aging. There was a program that was being offered right on the hospital premises, but I was too young to take the courses. Instead I ended up taking them through a local college – ironically, through their adult education facility.
My Mom actually urged me to enroll in the program. It was something she wanted to do for herself, and she thought it might help me in my work at the time. We were quite the pair! I was the youngest person in the program, at the tender age of 19 when I began. And I’m fairly sure that to this day, we are the only mother-daughter duo the program has ever seen.
Our teachers were warm, dedicated people who regularly went out of their way to recommend reading materials to us. One of the materials we regularly used was The Senior Times a monthly news magazine aimed at people 50 and over. I saw a copy of the magazine in our local grocery store about a year ago, and reflected fondly on the time I spent studying with my mother. Little did I know that only months later I would be contacted by one of the editors of the magazine, asking me to contribute some work of my own.
My first piece is the story of a martial arts master who has returned to his home town to receive a great honour from students who are now instructors themselves. Here’s a little snippet:
The first time I heard Charles Bédard speak about his life, it brought me to tears. He spoke of his childhood, of his earliest motivations to study martial arts, and of the pieces of his heart he has given to his students over five decades teaching ju-jutsu.
Bédard, 70, has returned to the dojo, or martial-arts school, to preside over the examination of two candidates, young men ready to join a long line of black belts who owe their art to him. A diminutive man, Bédard has snowy white hair and his eyes twinkle when he smiles.
He is popular with everyone, even the littlest children who come to the dojo. Patriarch of this lineage of martial artists, he has a way of fading into the background and observing quietly. He moves slowly and with purpose.
~ “Master returns to his roots to accept a great ju-jutsu honour” by Kyla Matton Osborne, The Senior Times
I am getting ready to submit another story to the magazine as I write this, and look forward to a long and productive relationship with the publication. I feel in a way I have come full circle, writing now for the paper I once read as a student. It is an honour and a privilege to have this opportunity!